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Studebaker has a long and mostly distinguished history, even before they started building cars. Studebaker racing history is presented here as a time line. The time line has entries at the time the event occurred. If you have any additions or corrections to the time line please let me know so I can get the line updated or corrected ASAP. For the time being, this will be an on-going project, with a completion date of "more to come.............."


Studebaker Racing Time Line

Before we present just the racing aspects of Studebaker, here is a brief background on the Studebaker company..............

For 114 years Studebaker built buggies, horse-drawn wagons, trucks and fine  automobiles. Brothers Henry and Clem Studebaker began doing business in February, 1852, when they opened a blacksmith shop in a small Indiana town located on the "south bend" of the St. Joseph River, near the Michigan border. On that first day of business, they made 25 cents profit for shoeing one horse, but by the end of that year they had built and sold two wagons.

Three more brothers soon joined the business, most notably John M. Studebaker, known as "Wheelbarrow Johnny." He made a fortune ($8,000) producing and selling wheelbarrows to miners in Hangtown, CA, (now Placerville), during the California gold rush, and brought much needed capital back to South Bend. John ran the company long after the other brothers passed away, and survived until March, 1917. He took the company into the auto business, although Studebaker continued building wagons until 1920. If you've ever seen a Budweiser beer wagon pulled by Clydesdale horses, then you probably saw a Studebaker wagon.

In it's best calendar year of production (1950) Studebaker built 268,099 autos that came to be known as "Bulletnoses" and 52,146 trucks for a total of 320,245 vehicles.

Studebaker was the only company that made the  transition from producing horse-drawn wagons to motor vehicles, and also the only auto company to emerge from receivership during the great depression and get back in the business. 

Now, on to the business of performance and racing........


Although it wasn't a race as such, Studebaker proved it could take the punishment. Here is a 1911 Studebaker Flanders 20 during it's "First to Hazelton" run from Seattle, Washington, USA.


By the late twenties, Studebaker was a successful manufacturer of mid line cars. In 1928, Studebaker made a bid for the fine car market with the introduction of the new President, featuring a new high output eight-cylinder engine. According to Studebaker, the new President “finds a parallel in sustained speed only in the light of comets, meteors, and other heavenly bodies”.

Marketing aside, it was this engine that earned Studebaker a strong reputation in the performance world. In 1928, three Presidents circled the Atlantic City board track for 25,000 miles, averaging 68mph.


Later, in 1931, the engine was upgraded to nine main bearing construction, and a modified President won the Pike’s Peak hill-climb. Studebakers were also quite successful at the Indy 500, always finishing in the top ten.

Despite what many consider to be a series of management misadventures, Studebaker was still a force in the market in 1931. Struggling with the acquisition of Pierce Arrow, and burdened with a diverse product line, the company rallied around the new President model to establish an image of spirited performance.

With the introduction of the nine main bearing version of the President engine for 1931, Studebaker stepped up its efforts to show off the car’s abilities. The results speak for themselves: Studebaker held 114 records, 35 of which would still stand 35 years later. No other car of its era was as successful in motor sports competition.


One of the rarest of rare Studebakers is built, and followed along during it's birth and trial by road test. 



More to come...............



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